Beer & Choking on the Campaign Trail ’08, Part 2

My Future First Lady and I battle savage storms and cheat death as our BBD Express campaign tour—and my homage to Hunter Thompson—reach their feverish conclusion.

“Politicians, like journalists, are pretty hard people to like.” – Hunter S. Thompson


After our night at Mt. Rushmore, my FFL and I were back on the road — driving east on I-90 across South Dakota, then turning down into Nebraska and crashing in Omaha the next night before hitting I-80 through to Chicago. We’d have to be careful lighting up here: the pigs ‘round these parts are fed a steady diet of steroid-enriched, genetically engineered uber-corn. Some even shoot up high-fructose corn syrup like junkies. But it turned out cops were the least of our problems. From the moment we entered Iowa until the moment we left, we were bombarded by a blizzard of Biblical proportion. Blind and desperate, I wrestled with the road while the Gods vomited all manner of fury upon our windshield — wind, fog, rain and even hail. After hours of meteorological persecution, we finally emerged from the deluge and entered Illinois — the home state of my homeboy Barack.

My next appearance was at a little smoke shop in northwestern Chicago called The Highway. Waiting there for us was Unkle Mike, founder of the stoner community service group Lokal 420, representatives from Illinois NORML, and reefer rappers The Individuals. Also there was my most devoted Blackolyte — Sweet Metal Wendy, who’d created a fan page for me (Bobby’s Angels) and had driven two hours for the event. After the usual kissing hands and shaking babies, we all went across the street to the Hubble Hookah bar for a smoke, where I learned of Unkle Mike’s unfortunate situation: just before we’d arrived, he’d been convicted in a Wisconsin court for growing around 200 plants of medicinal marijuana. Despite his dire situation, Mike was as kind, generous, and courageous as could be, and asked that I pass on this message to my readers:

“Start your own Lokal 420. Go out and do good deeds in your neighborhood, and let people know it’s because you’re a stoner, and you love humanity and society too and are not out to hurt it. That’s the only way we’ll get things changed.”

A few days after we left, Mike was sentenced to three years in prison.


After Chicago, we had one final and necessary stop on our American Odyssey — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

We snaked through the tips of Indiana and Michigan and entered Ohio just before midnight. The road was dark and deserted, and FFL was behind the wheel as I took a quick nap. But I was awoken violently when some somnambulistic sonofabitch nodded off behind the wheel and veered into our lane, forcing FFL to swerve to avoid collision. Traveling at 80 miles per hour, that swerve had sent us into a 720-degree spin across the freeway.

“Jesus Baby!” I cried in panic as we spiraled across the road trying to regain control. Rather than my life flashing before my eyes, it was death that I saw—in vivid, brutal Technicolor: the car flipping over and over, landing on its roof, being whacked by another vehicle and bursting into flames, shattering our fragile bodies into burned, bloody and broken sacks of flesh. But after several revolutions, the car skidded to a halt mere centimeters from the center concrete divider. Shocked and shaken but unharmed, we made our way to the motel, where we consumed copious amounts of wine and weed and held each other until finally falling asleep.

We only spent about an hour at the Hall of Fame the next day, saving the special Doors exhibit for last. Staring down at Jim Morrison’s death certificate, the weight of my mortality overwhelmed me — renewing my resolve to live each day to the fullest and make a difference. Somberly, we started up the Saturn, kissed the cats and headed home.


Much has changed since Hunter Thompson covered the presidential race of ‘72, yet much remains the same. Despite the horseshit shoveled at us by CNN, Washington, and the rest of the flag-sucking dullards, freedom is still a four-letter word in this country. Just ask Unkle Mike. It’s up to people like us to carry on Hunter’s Freak Power legacy by calling these hypocritical fuckers to task. Get involved by joining NORML and writing to your representatives. There are 25 million of us who smoke pot — if we stand together, we can redefine the American Dream one toke at a time and turn all these red and blue states into green states. That’s what this Smoke the Vote campaign is all about. I don’t expect you to vote for me, but I do expect you to vote. And unless you want four more years of lies and fear, for Chrissakes vote Democratic! Come on America, I’m counting on you — don’t let me down this time.

This column is dedicated to Unkle Mike. Thanks to Lokal 420,The Individuals, The Highway, Illinois NORML, Sweet Metal Wendy, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the great Hunter S. Thompson and most of all my FFL for putting up with me.



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